A spam blog, sometimes referred to by the neologism splog, is a blog which the author uses to promote affiliated websites, to increase the search engine rankings of associated sites or to simply sell links/ads.
The purpose of a splog can be to increase the PageRank or backlink portfolio of affiliate websites, to artificially inflate paid ad impressions from visitors (see MFA-blogs), and/or use the blog as a link outlet to sell links or get new sites indexed. Spam blogs are usually a type of scraper site, where content is often either inauthentic text or merely stolen (see blog scraping) from other websites. These blogs usually contain a high number of links to sites associated with the splog creator which are often disreputable or otherwise useless websites.
There is frequent confusion between the terms "splog" and "spam in blogs". Splogs are blogs where the articles are fake, and are only created for search engine spamming. To spam in blogs, conversely, is to include random comments on the blogs of innocent bystanders, in which spammers take advantage of a site's ability to allow visitors to post comments that may include links. In fact, one of the earliest uses of the term "splog" referred to the latter.
The term splog was popularized around mid August 2005 when it was used publicly by Mark Cuban, but appears to have been used a few times before for describing spam blogs going back to at least 2003. It developed from multiple linkblogs that were trying to influence search indexes and others trying to Google bomb every word in the dictionary.
The term may be applied to more recent[when?] infections, most noticeably those reported by Webtrends in April 2008. Leveraging botnets, spammers have infected several thousand pages which display prominent keywords from the Google Trends site by bypassing the CAPTCHA authentication method, which had previously subdued all spam bloggers. A recent sighting puts the top ten Google hottest terms of the day as all being owned by spambots on the Blog Results page. As they have gone mostly unchecked, they have also infected real SERP Page One web results and corrupt any hot search terms more than a month old. Hackers are using a number of methods including link farming, spamdexing and keyword stuffing each in a simple, moderated form to achieve top PageRank results. Most of the sites contain an animated graphic which appears as a YouTube streaming video. Once clicked, users become infected with one of several variants of spyware. This generates revenue for the spambot's owner.
- "Wired 14.09: Spam + Blogs = Trouble. Splogs are the latest thing in online scams". Wired.com. 2009-01-04. Retrieved 2010-05-14.
- "June 13, 2003 hackermojo.com entry". Hackermojo.com. Retrieved 2010-05-14.
- Yamamoto, Mike (2005-08-17). "Are 'splogs' ruining the blogs?". CNet News. Retrieved 2009-01-31. "Cuban, who defines a splog as "any blog whose creator doesn't add any written value," writes: "Go to your favorite blog search engine and type in hair loss. Or you can try Cialis, or Discount Tickets?? You get the idea. Anything that has ever been spammed about is spammed in monstrous proportions in the blogosphere because its so easy to do.""
- Cuban's original post is archived here .
- See, for example, a June 13, 2003 hackermojo.com entry, which uses the term, albeit in reference to spam comments on blogs.
- "Microsoft Live Hotmail Under Attack by Streamlined Anti-CAPTCHA and Mass-mailing Operations". Security Labs Blog. 2005-11-01. Retrieved 2010-05-14.
- Blogger: About Spam Blogs
- SVMs for the Blogosphere: Blog Identification and Splog Detection
- news.com.com: "Tempted by blogs, spam becomes 'splog'"
- The Guardian, 17 November 2005, "Cashing in on fake blogs"
- Examples of splog creation software
- Pings, Spings, Splogs and the Splogosphere: 2007 Updates
- Examples of splogs from the Swedish area